By Emily Shields
Not seen since running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in November, Grade 1 winner Eight Rings makes his 2020 debut at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas on Saturday, April 25. The $100,000 sprint for three-year-old males drew a field of nine, with Eight Rings drawing stall seven. Watch the race live on TVG.
A $520,000 son of Empire Maker, Eight Rings was well backed when he won his debut, scoring by over six lengths at Del Mar. The dark bay colt was then heavily favored in the Del Mar Futurity (G1), but ducked and lost rider Drayden Van Dyke. He returned to win the American Pharoah (G1) by six lengths under John Velazquez, who was aboard when the pair ran sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as the second choice. Eight Rings has been off since then, but the Bob Baffert trainee worked nine times for this comeback including a local bullet on April 17, five furlongs in :59 flat.
Drawn outside is 3-1 second choice Long Weekend. The $225,000 juvenile purchase by Majesticperfection has won three of four starts, including the Gazebo Stakes here March 21. That race is the prep for this one, and trainer Tom Amoss has worked the colt just twice since. Joe Talamo will be aboard Long Weekend, who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs by five lengths last year.
Little Menace drew the rail and is 4-1. Steve Asmussen trains the son of Into Mischief, a $460,000 purchase who was second in the Gazebo Stakes after winning an allowance here in February. He broke his maiden by nearly eight lengths at Churchill Downs in December in his second start. Stuart Elliott will ride the colt, who has never been worse than second.
Echo Town is 9-2 and Asmussen’s second starter. The son of Speightstown is coming off an allowance win in the slop here over this trip. He has made all three of his starts this year, including a maiden win at the Fair Grounds in January. Ricardo Santana, Jr gets the call on this colt, who worked a bullet five panels on April 13 in :59 flat.
Ginobili was once good enough to outrun Honor A. P. when that one debuted, then ran fourth in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and fourth sprinting on the grass. He returned after a moderate layoff to run second behind Nadal in the San Vicente Stakes (G2); that runner went on to take the Rebel here and Ginobili ran him to three-quarters of a length. Trainer Richard Baltas moved him here in April, but Ginobili ran fifth in an allowance on a track rated “good” despite being the heavy favorite. Lykan, Beau Pxy, Liam’s Pride, and Sir Rick round out the field.
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